There are multiple treatment options for presbyopia, from simple solutions such as reading glasses or contact lenses to more complex procedures such as refractive eye surgery.

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a common part of aging that usually begins to develop after age 45.

There are multiple treatments available for presbyopia, from corrective glasses to refractive surgery. This article reviews all the treatment options for presbyopia.

Eyeglasses can be one of the least invasive and most affordable ways to help correct presbyopia.

Some people with mild presbyopia who had good vision before they developed the condition might be able to use nonprescription, over-the-counter reading glasses. These glasses typically range in power from +1.00 diopter to +3.00 diopter.

Your optometrist can let you know whether nonprescription reading glasses are a good choice for you.

Other corrective eyeglass options for presbyopia include:

  • Prescription reading glasses: Prescription reading glasses are customized for each person. For example, if your eyes have different prescriptions or if you have astigmatism, your glasses can be customized to address that issue. Over-the-counter reading glasses offer no astigmatism correction, and both lenses are the same prescription.
  • Bifocals: Bifocals allow you to see both near and far. The top (distance) portion can be for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism correction, and the bottom (near) portion is for reading.
  • Trifocals: Trifocals correct your vision in three ways: up close, at a middle distance, and far away. They’re best for people who need a different prescription for reading, seeing a computer screen, and seeing things farther away.
  • Progressive lenses: Progressive lenses are trifocals without lines in the lenses. This type of lens is best for people who don’t need distance lenses but do need different prescription strengths for reading and for computer screens.

Contact lenses can be another option to address presbyopia, but they’re not an option for everyone. For instance, people who have dry eye or certain eyelid conditions often cannot wear contact lenses.

However, for some people, contacts can be a great way to treat presbyopia. Contact lens options include:

  • Bifocal contacts: Like bifocal glasses, bifocal contacts correct both near and far vision in one lens. They are a good choice for people with both myopia and presbyopia.
  • Monovision lenses: Monovision lenses have a prescription for distance vision in one eye and a prescription for close vision in the other. Sometimes, you might wear a bifocal lens in one eye and a single-prescription, close-vision-correcting lens in the other.

Refractive surgery is eye surgery that changes the shape of your cornea.

If you have presbyopia, the surgery will improve your vision in your nondominant eye. Sometimes, people who have refractive surgery for presbyopia still need to use glasses for up-close reading or computer work.

The effects of refractive surgery for people with presbyopia are similar to the effects of wearing monovision lenses. Wearing monovision lenses for a few months can help you decide whether refractive surgery is a good choice for you.

You might undergo any of the following types of refractive surgery for presbyopia:

  • LASIK surgery: uses a laser to correct how light passes through the front of your eye
  • Conductive keratoplasty: uses radio waves (rather than lasers or incisions) to correct vision
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK): uses lasers to reshape your cornea, improving your eye’s ability to focus
  • INTRACOR: an “inside the cornea” laser eye procedure (not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States)

Prescription eye drops are a newer option that can help some people with presbyopia. They can make your pupils smaller, leading to clearer close-up vision.

However, these drops aren’t for everyone. They can have side effects such as red eye, headache, and night blindness. They’re also not typically covered by insurance.

Several types of lens implants are available for correcting presbyopia. Some allow your eye to see both near and far. Multifocal and extended-focus intraocular implants can allow you to see at a range of distances. But lens implants can cause a decrease in the quality of your near vision, and you may still need reading glasses.

Possible side effects include glare and blurring. In addition, this surgery has the same risks as cataract surgery, including inflammation, infection, bleeding, and glaucoma, although these risks are usually quite small.

A corneal inlay is a small plastic ring that is open in the center. This ring is inserted into the cornea of one of your eyes. It acts like a tiny camera and focuses light, allowing you to see close objects more clearly.

Corneal inlays are removable, so they can be a good choice for people who want to try the treatment but leave other treatments available. A few types and options are available for presbyopia. You and your ophthalmologist can discuss which option would be best for you.

Presbyopia is a vision condition that occurs as you age. It happens because your eyes’ lenses become harder and lose flexibility with time. This results in changes in the way your lenses focus light, and these changes make it hard to see objects up close.

Several treatment options are available for presbyopia. Some, such as glasses, contact lenses, and eye drops, are simple and minimally invasive. Others, such as inlays, implants, and refractive surgery, can be invasive and complex.